5th Sunday after Pentecost
June 28, 2015
“Stuff I Always Wanted to Know but Never Asked – Part IV”
Grace, mercy, and peace be and abide with you all in the name of our living Savior Jesus. The basis for the sermon is that wonderful lesson read earlier from Lamentations 3, specifically verses 22-23: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
My dear friends,
Remember last week how I told you that to get my English Degree I had to take the class “Modern Structure and Usage?” Well, in order to get my undergraduate degree I also took a science class called “Man, Science, and Nature” in which we spent 10 long weeks talking about evolution. And, for me, 10 weeks of “education” was undone in a single morning.
One morning, home from college, it was a perfectly still morning and I knew the Walleye would be biting. I jumped out of bed and headed right down to my folks’ boat tied along the bank of the Rainy River in northern Minnesota. It was a perfect, crisp, morning: 55 degrees, no breeze, a fog sitting on the surface of the water, ducks flying right over my head, sun coming up over the tree line. It was glorious…AND the fish were biting. And in that moment I could not believe for another second more what the professor had been drilling in my head for 10 weeks – that the earth and all that is in it got here because of random chance and survival of the fittest. Only pure, dumb luck billions of years after life just “happened” from the primordial ooze – and NOTHING more – accounted for the events of that morning. Uhn uhn. Never again. And I never took another science class again.
Today I will finish my series Stuff I Always Wanted to Know but Never Asked by answering a question simply submitted – “The Bible vs. evolution.” It is commonly called “the Great Debate” – Evolution and the evolutionary theory over and against Biblical creationism. Evolution…is it fact or theory? Many people assume it is simply a fact. Many people couldn’t be more wrong.
In 1859, Charles Darwin, in his book, On The Origin of Species, proposed a theory that the various species of animals resulted from a process of “natural selection,” with the “favored races” being preserved in the “struggle for life.”Is this merely a scientific theory, or is there more? Charles Darwin was fully aware that his idea was a frontal assault on the very notion of an intelligent Designer – the Triune God. At the very heart of the debate is the issue of God; Creator God or no God? Is everything here because it was formed by luck and survived by chance or is it here because God said “let there be, and there was.”
Those who prefer the Creation and Intelligent Design explanation for life cannot be conveniently stereotyped as “backward, ignorant, flat-earth fanatics who ignore science.” To the contrary, believers in special Creation and Intelligent Design are discerning, rational people—tens of millions of them like us—who, upon weighing the evidence, have dismissed evolutionary theory as weak and unsound. And the millions are being joined by growing numbers of biologists, geologists, paleontologists, physicists, medical doctors, mathematicians and other professional sciences.
Sadly, for generations Evolution, with all its weaknesses and unexplained gaps, has reigned unchallenged in American public life in our zoos, science centers, museums and mass media, and yes, perhaps most clearly in our public schools. The theory of Evolution is simply handed down as fact. Only now, finally, is Evolution being contested on its own terms – objective science – by organizations like the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Instruction Association.
Now, it would be a BIG mistake on our part to think that simply by presenting the evidence for Intelligent Design and/or the content of Genesis 1 and 2, a person will become a Christian. Believing that God is our loving heavenly Father who created the heavens and the earth is an article of faith. And once someone believes in a Creator God it isn’t such a leap to know that we are sinful human beings in need of a Savior and then trusting in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is our Savior from sin, death and the power of Satan. Such a living hope is a gift of God, given by the Holy Spirit. Saving faith is not a matter of scientific study or analysis. Faith is as miraculous an event in our life as is God’s work of Creation in the world.
For us in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod we believe, teach, and confesses that Adam and Eve were real historic individuals and that the Genesis account of Creation is true and factual, not merely a “myth” or a “story” made up to explain the origin of all things.
Christians have no need to fear the findings of science, nor do they have any reason to give “science” more credence than they give the Word of God; science and God are NOT mutually exclusive. As scientists continue to study and explore the wonders of God’s creation, we will not name-call or finger-point, but instead join the ancient Psalmist in saying, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”(Psalm 139:14).
But not everyone knows that full well. Consider Peter’s words in Pater 2“…scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires…For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God…” (2 Peter 3:3-5, ESV). Consider Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
And so the great debate will rage on and on until the coming again of Jesus, but Jeremiah reminded us today of a glorious truth: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” The reality, my friends, is this. There is an overwhelming list of proof and evidences of creation, which indicates to us a wonderful and caring and loving God, who by grace sent His Son for us that we would be forgiven of our sins and have the opportunity for eternal life with Him in heaven.
Sure, you weren’t there with me in the boat, but you too must ask yourself whether you believe in a loving Creator God or random chance? And ultimately, don’t we see the proof in the absolute and total beauty of God’s creative and loving hand every day around us especially in a place like Sarasota?